Brock Eastman teams up with his 7-year-old daughter in the family-oriented follow-up to Daddy’s Favorite Sound (2019).
In this tale that’s loosely inspired by a passage from 2 Corinthians about the “pleasing aroma of Christ,” Little Lion catches a whiff of delicious cinnamon rolls fresh from the oven. This sends the anthropomorphic cub, who wears overalls and a T-shirt, on a quest to discover her mother’s favorite smell. Depicted in Miles’ illustrations as variously colored inky emanations, some smells encountered along the way are pleasant, such as the smells of rain, campfire, and fresh-baked chocolate-chip cookies. Others are not and are clearly presented in an attempt to be humorous, as not even a lion is likely to claim dirty diaper, hot compost, or generally odorless tulips among their favorite scents. After encouraging Little Lion to “keep sniffing” throughout the day, Mommy Lion finally gives in while snuggling together with her cub before bed: Her favorite smell is the smell of her children. This lion family inhabits a comfortably appointed home and wears Western clothing (but no shoes). The text is on the long side for a preschool audience, and the repetition of Little Lion’s question and Mommy’s answers, rendered as a rhyming couplet, grows tedious. The scriptural connection is a stretch, a closing prayer a bit trite, and suggested discussion questions tepid, though the recipe for chocolate-chip cookies might tempt some readers.
Keep sniffing to find a better story; though innocuous, this one is unlikely to be a favorite. (Picture book. 3-7)